Confronting My Covert-Aggressive Father: How to Get a Covert-Aggressive Personality to See the Error of His Ways?

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Reader’s Question

I have only recently realized that my elderly father has a covert-aggressive personality. I spent so many years hating myself and feeling that others didn’t like me, including family members. It’s been a really hard realization to come to. I’ve always thought I had the “Leave it to Beaver” life, yet I was never happy. I thought the reason was me, or my mother, or anyone but my dad. He always came out “smelling like a rose”. Additionally, I almost divorced my husband because of him. It was an all-out war. When my mom died, my dad wanted me and my husband gone. I spent many sleepless nights trying to figure all this out, and I’m not sure I understand it completely even now. I have to read and re-read Dr. Simon’s book to remind me what has happened. Even now that I know the truth about him, I find it easy to blame myself.

My question is, if I confront my Dad with the facts as outlined in Dr. Simon’s book, would he see himself as the covert-aggressive he is? Would he know that I’ve “got it” with respect to who he is, or would he look at me like I’m crazy?

Psychologist’s Reply

If your dad is the kind of personality I describe in my book In Sheep’s Clothing [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK], the likelihood is that he already sees himself just fine. And, if he looks at you like you’re crazy when you confront him, it’s more than likely a tactic to keep you under control. So, it’s far more important that you simply take charge of your own life and set firm limits with respect to his involvement in your affairs.

A brand new edition of In Sheep’s Clothing will be available March 31st from Parkhurst Brothers and on June 30th, my new book Character Disturbance [Amazon-US | Amazon-UK] (also from Parkhurst Brothers) will be in wide release and will offer helpful insights into all the kinds of problem characters who can make your life miserable.

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